No, you weren’t dreaming...the Braves did, in fact, win the first game of the NLCS over the Dodgers. The sound of the ball off of Austin Riley’s bat in the 9th inning did sound like something that would occur in a dream state, but it happened and the Braves now find themselves with a lead over arguably the best team in baseball and with rookie Ian Anderson on the mound hoping to continue his incredible run in the playoffs.
Through his first two playoff games, not just in 2020....period, Ian has thrown 11.2 scoreless innings against the Reds and Marlins while striking out 17 batters. While Ian was very, very good down the stretch for the Braves and really ever since they called him up in late August, but no one could have reasonably expected him to be the Braves’ best starting pitcher in the playoffs which is a high bar given how well Fried and Wright have performed as well.
He will have his hands full with the Dodgers, though, as they have a ton of lefties that could give him trouble, in particular Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger who are among the most dangerous hitters in the entire league. That said, Dodger lefty bats have been surprising tame against righties this year with just a .229 batting average against them, although some of that can be explained by Bellinger and Max Muncy having down years. Those lefty bats still led the league in homers against righties with 46, so Ian will have to make sure not to make mistakes over the plate.
Opposing him on the mound is Clayton Kershaw who, at this point, needs no introduction. He has been the best pitcher of this generation and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he is eligible. While his best days appear to be behind him, he was still VERY good for the Dodgers this season with a 2.16 ERA with a strikeout rate right in line with what he has done in recent years and a career low walk rate of 1.23 BB/9. The guy throws nasty stuff and he throws strikes. This is not news. He has also been great in the playoffs this season with a big jump in his strikeout rate in his 14 innings of work this postseason while posting a 1.93 ERA in those two starts. On a related note, Kershaw has been lights out against the Braves in the playoffs with a 0.43 ERA against them in four starts. Some of them are pretty recent painful memories, so you may want to not dwell on this too much.
The paragraph in italics is what I said when I thought Clayton Kershaw was starting today. He is legend. However, word just dropped that Tony Gonsolin will, in fact, be the starter for the Dodgers today because Kershaw is dealing with back spasms.
As of this writing, there no official word on the status of Adam Duvall although, based on what manager Brian Snitker said last night, it would basically take a miracle for him to be in the lineup today and it seems more likely that he is out for the season with what appeared to be an oblique injury.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, October 13th, 6:05 PM EST
Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network